Afrotropic Cocoa Processing Company launched in Accra

Mr Alan Kyerematen (third from right) with Mr Giovanni Favilli (second from left) Italian Ambassador to Ghana unveiling a plaque to open the company.

Mr Alan Kyerematen (third from right) with Mr Giovanni Favilli (second from left) Italian Ambassador to Ghana unveiling a plaque to open the company.

Afrotropic Cocoa Processing Company, a cocoa processing factory with a capacity to produce 15,000 tonnes of cocoa beans into cocoa liquor, deodorised cocoa butter and cocoa cake was yesterday inaugurated in Accra.

The company incorporated in Ghana in 2002 with the factory being built in 2006 experienced low productivity and inactivity due to global economic crisis in 2012.

However, in 2016 production resumed under a new agreement between Afrotropic and an Italian company, Nutkao, that led to a substantial investment for the factory to start operation as a Free Zone enclave.

Inaugurating the factory, Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry said in order to continue to implement the industrial transformation agenda of the country, there was the need to attract foreign capital into the country through appropriate policy and regulatory reforms.

He said the government would, therefore, continue to stay focused on the implementation of key economic reform programmes and policies to ensure that local industries were built to withstand the dynamic nature and volatilities of the global business environment.

He said the government was particularly enthused about the recapitalisation of Afrotropic because of the fact that cocoa which continue to be the backbone of the economy had less than 400,000 tonnes of the raw beans being processed for value addition in the country.

Mr Kyerematen said the situation was untenable since Ghana produced more than 1,000,000 tonnes of cocoa beans annually, expressing the hope that with the resumption of operations of Afrotropics, more of such investments would come to Ghana for the value addition to climb to at least 50 per cent.

He said it was also a welcoming news that the factory would create employment of more than 350 direct and indirect jobs for the people across the country, adding that Nutkao with its worldwide cherished and respected brand having added Ghana to its value chain of businesses could help transform the country into an investment destination hub for other European businesses.

Mr Kyerematen said the government in envisaging such investments had created  the enabling environment for businesses to thrive since assuming office, saying, “it was because of this the government worked hard to reduce the debt stock to the GDP ratio from 73 per cent to 57 per cent between 2017 and 2019.”

He said the government was also able to reduce the budget deficit from nine per cent to 3.7 per cent while inflation was reduced from13 per cent to 8.5 per cent all between 2017 to the current year, just to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Mr Kyerematen said the government would also want to diversify the economy, explaining that there had been, in recent times, an investment drive into the automobile, garment, bauxite and very soon the iron and steel industries, just to make the country a new manufacturing hub in West Africa and the global world.

He asked the cocoa processing factory to take advantage of the free export markets Ghana enjoyed with both America and Europe while making preparation to also take advantage of the upcoming Africa Single Market under the Continental Free Trade Zone, an African initiative for free trade in the middle of the year.

Mr Andrea Guidi, Chief Executive Officer of the Nutkao Group said the group’s strategic plan was to continually develop Afrotropics as the main supplier of cocoa raw materials to the group, adding that with the support of the government and its various agencies, Afrotropics would be able to grow and expand in the coming years.

He said the Nutkao group currently distributed its products to more than 60 countries, half of which were outside the European Union, adding that the group also played a significant role in their home country Italy for semi-finished products for the confectionery industry.

BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI

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